Friday, June 3, 2011

Intelligence community more loyal to Constitution

Seymour Hersh says he finds a remarkable difference in attitudes lately

New York – Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh told “Democracy Now” hostess Amy Goodman that intelligence operatives are more loyal to the Constitution.

In an appearance to discuss his latest article published in last week's edition of “The New Yorker,” in which Mr. Hersh maintains there is no evidence that Iran is making a nuclear bomb, he made the singular remark regarding a new and pronounced loyalty to the nation's basic law.

The conversation had turned to his sources of information, in which he asserted that it's much easier to get tips and solid information in Europe. Intelligence types there are “much more open” than their counterparts in the U.S., he said.

“There are an awful lot of people in the intelligence community who take an oath to the U.S. Constitution and not to the President or the general who runs the agency...and we're seeing a lot more of that attitude lately. I don't know why...There seems to be a lot more integrity.”

Mr. Hersh has ventured the opinion that though the Obama Administration treats the question as if it's a foregone conclusion, as did their coutnerparts in the Bush Administration, there is really no evidence it is true. He drew harsh criticism from Obama Administration officials for the article, who cast doubt on his veracity in the matter.

In 1969, Mr. Hersh broke the story of the so-called My Lai massacre when he learned from a fellow journalist that the U.S. Army was conducting a court martial of an Americal Division Lieutenant named William Calley who was accused of leading his men in the mass execution of hundreds of women, children and old men in a “Pinkville” hamlet known as My Lai 4.

When Dispatch New Service published the story in 33 newspapers nationwide, it led to a press feeding frenzy and his receiving the Pulitzer Prize in 1970.

In subsequent years, he has worked as a correspondent for “The New York Times” writing on military and national security matters and as a writer for “The New Yorker,” in which publication he broke the story of abuse and torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison outside of Baghdad.

Mr. Hersh seemed to shift gears in the final 30 seconds of the program when Ms. Goodman asked him about a reported "assassination ring" run out of the Bush White House by then Vice President Richard Cheney, about which he wrote extensively in those days. His reply was 180 degrees from his earlier remarks about the new respect he sees for the Constitution, and not the officials served by the intelligence community and the military. He said that the military apparatus is vast, that it supports a complex about which "we don't know."

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